ZEN by DUNU: our first model designed around next-generation driver platform ECLIPSƎ
Dec 16, 2020 at 11:29 AM Post #47 of 1,308

Layman1

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It seems the general responses in the thread pertain to four different areas:
  1. Starting a listening tour for the ZEN
  2. Why doesn't ZEN use beryllium
  3. Price is higher than expected
  4. Why it's only a single dynamic driver, instead of hybrid/tri-brid, multi-BA, etc.
We'll respond item by item:

1. @riverground @davidmolliere @GTFOUR111 @gto88
We'll try to arrange the tour as soon as possible!

2. @nishan99 @Fatdoi

This is not the first version of the ZEN. We actually had a prototype of the ZEN designed based around the 17th Anniversary limited edition model's driver, which was a 13.5 mm driver with a dual-sided beryllium coating. At the time, it was the most advanced conventional driver we had, and by 'conventional', it means that it had our most advanced polymer base along with the thickest PVD beryllium coating possible. By coating on both sides, we discovered it acted much more like a pure beryllium foil diaphragm. The picture below is a clear version of the first generation prototype ZEN. You can see the large 13.5 mm diaphragm filling up the entire housing chamber.

Introduction - ZEN by DUNU - Final.019.png

But once we figured out how to streamline production of the complex composite driver design in the LUNA, we knew we had to go back to the drawing board. The composite driver design provides better Z-axis excursion (because of the ability to use softer materials in the surround section), better distortion characteristics, and the ability to increase the total sound reproduction surface area — while everyone in the industry counts the size of the driver as the total diameter of the entire driver, the actual sound reproduction area, i.e. the dome portion, may vary with morphology.

After LUNA's release, many people let us know that while they thought LUNA was a technological marvel, it was just a bit too much coin for them to buy into. So we had to get creative about where we spent our budget. On top of all of this, it was February 2020 when we were looking at these options. COVID-19 essentially cut off our entire supply of beryllium. This is the main reason why LUNA was truncated to 500 units. We didn't have enough material for any more.

We'll freely admit, we took a page out of Focal's playbook here when we turned to Mg-Al alloy. They proved with their headphone lineup that the Clear could perform at an extremely high level at a fraction of the price of the Utopia. We thought we could do the same with ZEN. With a much smaller dome, however, any minor imperfection of the Mg-Al material is subject to amplification, and so we turned to nanoDLC to improve on its characteristics.

1608068990195.png
This is just a random workbench shot of the THD for the ZEN under normal, non-optimized conditions. This isn't our real benchmarking rig, and it's actually fairly noisy, so the figures obtained are not very accurate. At an SPL of 107.62 db re 20 μPa for 1 kHz, we get 0.11144% THD on this rig. Not too shabby, but it'll almost certainly get better figures with a low-noise benchmarking rig.

3. @zenki @newworld666

ECLIPSƎ will be integrated into lower end products, but we had to start somewhere!

As alluded to in the previous reply, we're constantly refining the way we streamline production for this composite driver construction technique. It was highly labor intensive with LUNA, to the point where it was bottlenecking the production speed for every else in our production line. We've improved on our workflow efficiency to the point where we can make it in quantities and at the speed suitable for ZEN. Once we can make them at a rate where we can make a truly mainstream level item, we'll be sure to offer something at that price point.

4. @szore & Co.

Continuing the third point, we'll be integrating ECLIPSƎ into hybrid products in the near future. We're already in the process of making an ECLIPSƎ woofer, so it won't be featured only in single DD earphones. We've got a number of ideas.


Now to address the other comments:



Totally agree with that assertion. There are a few ways that higher magnetic flux through the magnet system improves sound, but they're dependent on the mass/size of the diaphragm itself, as well as the amount of displacement. We ourselves had reservations about going with such a strong magnet system. The two earpieces actually stick together, as shown in this short clip of a very early engineering unit of the ZEN:



However, increasing the magnetic flux density merely makes it easier for us to optimize other aspects of the dome and surround.



While it would be an interesting exercise, we currently have no plans to produce any full-sized cans. There are so many great companies doing amazing work already! Besides, we still have a bit more to give on the portable side of things.



They should fit similarly to the current DK series of hybrids like the DK-4001, DK-3001 PRO, and DK-2001. The insertion angles are the same.


Even aside from all your products, I just want to give some appreciation and recognition for how you give such open, detailed and responsive answers to all the comments posted here; terrific service and connection with the community:thumbsup::)
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 12:04 PM Post #48 of 1,308

M3NTAL

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Really hope I get a chance to hear these at some point. The work in the driver alone is promising. I was very excited by the Luna, still would like to hear it, but the general consensus on the tuning has me shying away from blindly buying. Hoping to see a sub $500 single DD "Elex" version (Since you have the Luna (Utopia) / Zen (Clear) / _____ (Elex)
 
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Dec 16, 2020 at 12:25 PM Post #49 of 1,308

subguy812

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Really hope I get a chance to hear these at some point. The work in the driver alone is promising. I was very excited by the Luna, still would like to hear it, but the general consensus on the tuning has me shying away from blindly buying. Hoping to see a sub $500 single DD "Elex" version (Since you have the Luna (Utopia) / Zen (Clear) / _____ (Elex)
To my ears, any one claiming that Luna was bright(Utopia like) did not utilize the proper eartips. It is critical to have the X/Y axis correctly aligned. While I can't account for anyone else ear anatomy, I did a comprehensive write-up on Audio Rabbit Hole of the importance of tips with the Luna.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 12:40 PM Post #50 of 1,308

M3NTAL

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@subguy812 - My suggestion of the similarity between the Luna and Utopia was strictly in relation to driver design. I did not mean they had anything in common with tuning or timbre as I have no way of knowing that without firsthand experience. The "ECLIPSE" driver being as large as it is and the hints that it goes to 50khz and all the way down to sub-sonic without roll-off seems nice.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 12:45 PM Post #51 of 1,308

subguy812

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@subguy812 - My suggestion of the similarity between the Luna and Utopia was strictly in relation to driver design. I did not mean they had anything in common with tuning or timbre as I have no way of knowing that without firsthand experience. The "ECLIPSE" driver being as large as it is and the hints that it goes to 50khz and all the way down to sub-sonic without roll-off seems nice.
No worries man...I was obviously thinking tuning as opposed to driver, ie. Stellia in the Beryllium. It's all good......you did reference tuning in shying away from a blind purchase so I incorrectly connected the dots.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 12:50 PM Post #52 of 1,308

M3NTAL

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No worries - I did lead you there with that comment. It for sure is a big portion of this hobby - trying to triangulate everything and see if it would fit your needs and at what cost. The Zen is getting closer to a safer price for what I believe sound quality is at in 2020.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 7:03 PM Post #55 of 1,308

itoosh

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Can you give us some details on the DK-2001 successor?
It would be with beryllium plated DD + 3BA? It would be in the exact ECLIPS3 platform? It would be in close/similar price range as the DK-2001? When it will be released?
Will the ECLIPS3 platform will be used in new models less than 300$?

Thanks!
 
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Dec 17, 2020 at 11:21 AM Post #57 of 1,308

Tristy

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Interested to see how this would compare against FiiO's latest flagship single DD IEM.
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 11:40 AM Post #58 of 1,308

davidmolliere

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Interested to see how this would compare against FiiO's latest flagship single DD IEM.

You mean FD5?
It's really in a different price segment and semi open too but I might be able to pitch in
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 11:59 AM Post #59 of 1,308

Tristy

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You mean FD5?
It's really in a different price segment and semi open too but I might be able to pitch in
Yeah I did think that. I guess Zen would be more in the realms of the Vega 2020 in terms of performance but only time will tell.
 

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